Apple Branches on Table The Prudent Homemaker 

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I spent a lot of time organizing this past week. We moved furniture around in the house to other rooms, filled several bags to donate (and dropped them off at the thrift shop), sold furniture on the local Facebook garage sale page (and put a price tag of $0 on the chairs above that we couldn’t seem to sell–and then had a taker), and threw things out.

My parents closed down their storefront several years ago and were planning to be retire, but they have continued to work from home. However, they recently told us they will be actually retiring by the end of this year. I had been planning to buy some more furniture through them before they did that, and while we weren’t planning on doing it this year, I would save a lot of money by ordering it through them and buying the furniture wholesale (plus tax and freight), so it made sense to purchase what we wanted this year, if we could afford to do so.  We only buy things if we have the cash to pay for them. Our furniture arrived last week, and I have 12 chairs now. Two will go in the library unless we have company for dinner. Another will go in the library as well until the baby is old enough to use it; the space is blank now but I’ll bring out the high chair when he is old enough to use it.

Their decision to close up also meant that I should order the bookcases for the other side of the library. Again, we would only commit to do this if we had the cash to do so. Our income varies, since it is sales based. Thankfully, the housing market has been improving here this year after a decade of poor sales, and purchasing the bookcases was something for which we could budget. I sold two of our old bookcases (the cheap pressboard kind with stickers that look like woodgrain) and moved the one I bought from a Facebook garage sale a year or more ago to my sewing room.  We’ve called it the library even though it was an empty room for many years (the previous homeowner used the room as a dining room), and now it is a library.

Our piano bench broke last week. It was a rather inexpensive bench  (we paid $25 for it brand-new) that wasn’t an actual piano bench (it didn’t open). We had repaired it before, but this time it was past being able to be repaired. I ordered this one from Amazon and used my Swagbucks gift card to pay for part of it.

We picked peaches, apricots, a few tomatoes, and figs from the garden. I cut grapes and Swiss chard from the garden. I also cut our first Armenian cucumber and first zucchini from the garden. (The cucumber was larger!) I hope to see some more this year. The cucumber is from seeds I planted back in March. 

I bought strawberries on sale for the amazing price of $0.87 a pound. I also bought ice cream for Cyrus’ birthday on sale; they were $3.49 for a gallon pail (regular price $5.79). A normal sale is $1 off; I was very excited to see this price. 

I cooked several meals outside in my solar oven. This kept the house cooler, which ended up being extra helpful when one of our air conditioning units broke and it was 111º (43ºC) outside. (Thankfully the repairman was able to come in just a couple of days, and thankfully it was just a couple of parts that needed to be replaced, rather than the entire unit.)

The children used and last week to practice typing and foreign language learning for free.

I sewed a pair of pajama shorts and a handkerchief for Cyrus from some hand-me-down fabric.

I mended an apron. Winter sewed buttons on two items of clothing (that were missing buttons) using buttons from my button jar.

Sweet Potato Vine The Prudent Homemaker

Our local nursery had potted fruit trees on sale last week. They aren’t usually on sale in summer, but they wanted to clear out some inventory. My plum tree is dying (no obvious reason) and I wanted to replace it with something else. I bought a Stella cherry on sale. I also bought 2 pomegranate trees (I have 2 potted pomegranates already; these 2 will most likely be potted as well). I will plant these in the fall when temperatures are lower.

My passionfruit vine has grown for several years and flowered well, but it is not fruiting. I pulled it out. It is invasive, so no doubt I’ll be pulling it out from many places for some time to come. I bought a small star jasmine to take its place for $2.98 on sale. 

I also was planning to buy some sweet potato vines for the pots by the front door. Nothing likes this spot well, as it is in full shade all day. I have been able to have some success with changing it out with different annuals. Last year sweet potato vines did well for me (they don’t produce potatoes, though). They will grow until after Thanksgiving. I went to the store and they had an unadvertised store special; they were on sale for $0.98 instead of $2.98.


What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. Hello Brandy and all from Australia .

    Here are our frugal accomplishments for the week –

    In the kitchen –

    – Blanched and froze 3.85 kg of cured sweet potatoes picked from the gardens to preserve them.

    – Made a quadruple batch weighing 2.82 kg of Brandy’s wonderful granola substituting cranberries for sultanas and adding desiccated coconut saving $11.86 over buying shop bought like for like product.

    – Made a double batch of carrot, sweet potato and spring onion soup using garden frozen and fresh produce from the gardens making 6 meals for the 2 of us for tea @ 0.23c per serve.

    – Made from scratch all of our bread using food storage in our bread machine.

    – Cooked all meals from scratch bar one where we celebrated reaching a milestone for saving for our home with cash.

    In the garden –

    – Weeded 1 side of the house lawn to get rid of weeds before spring and summer hit.

    – Picked tomatoes, capsicum, carrots, strawberries and parsley from the gardens.

    Craft and gardening earnings –

    – Earned $18.47 profit from the sale of saved garden seeds from our organic gardens.
    – Earned $10 from the sale of vegetables from our organic gardens.

    Water Preservation –

    – Saved 270 lts of town water due to rain and missing watering cycles in the garden.

    – Used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water all the house lawns without using any town water.

  2. We went on a mini vacation to a nearby island. Its a 40 minute flight. We took the train to the airport rather than paying for parking. Then we got good deals on the hotel and car rental as it isn’t high season yet. We don’t usually stay in big hotels as we prefer somewhere with a little more character. This hotel was on the beach and had a decent breakfast buffet that we took advantage of. Going to the beach across the street meant we avoided parking fees. My 4 year old had fun playing in the water, my husband got to take lots of pictures, and I went beach combing. I didn’t find anything except for a few sea shells.
    Lately I haven’t been working so I’ve stayed home and cooked many meals from mostly our pantry. I’ve gone to the farmer’s market rather than the supermarket to avoid the higher prices.

  3. I have lived in my home with a tiny yard for just over a year and finally drew up plans for some more raised beds as well as a corner of the yard that I want to plant a few columnar apple trees in. Your yard is much larger than mine, but I really want to put it my small yardto work and have it feed us more. I have lots of work to do, but we have to start somewhere!

    I would love to see your new furniture and of course more baby pictures!

  4. Hi Brandy and so wonderful you have been able to replace your chairs, piano stool and bookcases as well as some lovely new plants as well. I don’t know about you but for us as we save so hard for everything with cash as you do, we appreciate everything far more, and it is like opening up a Christmas present each time. Incidentally Christmas in July :p .

  5. I’ve always said that I didn’t think a solar oven would work very well in Michigan. I have changed my mind this year with the heat we have been getting. If it keeps this up I may have to invest in one!

    I’ve starting harvesting the vegetable garden. It’s so nice to walk outside and get fresh vegetables again.

    Here is my list of frugal accomplishments

  6. Hi Brandy,
    This weeks frugal achievements are

    Made a homemade weed killer (one litre of vinegar to one cup of salt) to kill all the nuisance weeds that had popped up between the pavers. It works like a charm, but be careful with it as it will kill any plant it comes in contact with. I use an old paint brush to paint the solution on

    Line dried all the washing

    Made a huge pot of Feijoada which fed us for 3 nights including a family dinner of 9 people

    Rode my bike to work every day

    Made 3 different flavoured sourdough breads using my own sourdough starter. It always amazes me, how such few ingredients, makes an amazing loaf of healthy bread

    Saved seeds from home grown tomatoes for next season

    Picked some mature ginger from our home sprouted plants, it is amazing how much has grown.

    I hope you have a great week,

  7. I made liquid soap for the dispenser in the bathroom from saved soap slivers. I made chocolate zucchini muffin using a new recipe (didn’t rise but are edible. Won’t use this recipe again), scalloped potatoes and ham, beans and rice ( for my lunches at work this week), strawberry/banana popsicles. We cooked all foods from scratch and ate at home.
    I spent $20 on some grocery items.
    I woke up to pouring rain on Sunday so I put out all our buckets to collect water. I got three buckets full of rainwater. I’ve used one bucket to water plants, one bucket for various rinsing: dirty dishes, etc. The other will get dumped in the garden today.
    We went to my husband’s two nephews (they are brothers) birthday cook out last weekend. I already had cards and two huge Hershey kisses in my pantry. I put $5 in each card and they each got a really big Hershey’s kiss. They got TONS of toys from everybody else so I don’t feel bad for giving them money (they are 8 and 4).
    My hubby checked out the interesting looking trash pile on the curb from a person up the street that moved. We got a large tote full of fitted and flat sheets, pillow cases (all fresh smelling), a pajama shirt for me, and two pairs of pajamas for my daughter for the future (they are way to big lol). Everything was immediately washed and dried in the dryer. He also grabbed 2 small vases. I grabbed a big box of books the other day for free, including one I haven’t read by my favorite author. I gave some to my mom as well.
    We were able to keep the ac units off for several days but had to turn them back on yesterday.
    I earned enough swagbucks for a $10 gift card but decided to keep it in my account for now.
    I have to go out of town for training for work for3 days. My employer is paying for everything, including mileage and food, but I plan on bringing some food with me. I don’t enjoy eating out all the time and I have to pay for everything and will then be reimbursed. I also do not plan on leaving the hotel much but will take advantage of their pool, hottub, fitness room and cable (which we don’t have). Classes will be all day anyways so not really any time for site seeing anyways.
    We cut some more flowers from the yard to bring in the house and decorate the table with.
    We borrowed books from the library.
    I scored herbal essence shampoo and conditioner for $1 per bottle and hamburger helper for .63 cents each (this is a treat for hubby, I only buy it on sale with coupons). I was able to get him 5 boxes, although not his favorite type but he is still happy. I have $2 in ECBs from CVS I will use to buy more children’s fever reducer because we are almost out.
    We didn’t have to water the garden on two different days because of the rain.
    I also did the usual: navy showers, saving warm up water to water plants, rinse dirty dishes with, flush toilet, etc, ate all meals at home, washed and reused jars and baggies, didn’t go anywhere if we didn’t have to, etc.
    Have a great week everyone!

  8. We are growing Armenian cucumbers for the first time, which I learned of here, and I picked the first ones last week, as well as the first zucchini. I’m also harvesting cherry tomatoes, eggplant, blueberries, grapes, some swiss chard & kale, and I pulled some carrots. I’ve wanted to make some pillows for my new room, & bought 4 pillows at the thrift shop for $6.50 that I intend to sew covers for. I already have some of the fabric. I had thought about waiting to see what the Habitat store had, as they usually have nice pillows, but they were all $15 & $20 a piece! Our passionfruit vines usually fruit, but some years they do not ripen before the frost. I’m hoping for some this year. Joining in here:

  9. Mostly we just survived. My husband had been out of the country for nearly a month, my big children have been working long, hard hours (and needing to be fed a lot of food and to have lunches), my daughter had a major surgery and it has been rough. I’ve tried to save as much of the garden produce as I can. I tried to make sure to use it in our meals rather than grabbing something easier (from the freezer, already made. Although I did that a few times.) I also went through and used up all of the bits and pieces of leftovers from the fridge. I made homemade ice packs for my daughter (after my husband accidentally brought the wrong type. I was tired and templed to go buy some of the right kind late at night, but I realized later that I could custom make the homemade ones to the size I needed. I used Dawn blue dishwashing soap. I am finding that it is the most amazing stuff.) My eldest daughter called me from France (she was able to go very inexpensively) on her phone with free wifi. I have been ripening a lot of the peaches inside since I had never gotten around to taken more off of the tree. I am preserving what food I can and not feeling too guilty when I give produce to the chickens when I get overwhelmed. I organized a big freezer (after having defrosted it) and the fridge too, but when I was away with my daughter the fridge became disorganized again. I want to save a lot of the animal fat I have in there to make soap so I need to deal with that today. I am not an organized person, but I realize that it sure helps. Must run. Off to make my lists.

  10. It’s good to hear that your income has improved enough that you could purchase the furniture before your parents retired, Brandy. Sounds like the discount buying through them was worth the investment! I’m also glad to hear that your AC unit could be fixed quickly. I know from visiting your city last summer just how hot gets there. Definitely not a place I’d want to live without AC!

    I’ve had a rather quiet week this week. This summer has be a constant roller-coaster on the weather front. We experience several days on extremely hot and humid temps, then a couple days of cooler weather before going straight back up. It’s really wearing us all out. My husband and I went to an auction, only to give up quickly and go home without buying anything, mainly because we couldn’t stand waiting around in the heat for the items of interest to come up on the auction block. It’s one way to save money I guess! Anyways, here are my frugal accomplishments:

    *Meals made at home this week included beef stew made in the crock pot, baked chicken smothered in cheddar cheese soup with white rice and broccoli, ham steaks with mashed potatoes and corn, pancakes, chicken souvlaki with white rice and corn, and BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with potato chips.

    *Collected more raspberries and black raspberries, as well as some black currents, from the bushes at work. I washed and froze them as soon as I got home. The raspberry freezer bag is slowly filling up. I’m thinking they will work best in a mixed berry jam.

    *Harvested some beans and peas from the garden. Also harvested some greens from the garden to feed our Guinea Pig.

    *Trimmed my bangs myself, saving the cost of a hair cut.

    *Picked 4 leaf clovers from our back yard. I placed them in a telephone book to press and dry them. Afterwards, I will iron them between pieces of waxed paper to preserve them. I used these as part of Christmas gifts last year. My MIL loved it so much it disintegrated from over use!

    *Worked more on the recipe binder that will be my niece’s Christmas gift this year.

    *Stayed in the air-conditioned basement as much as possible to keep cool and comfortable.

    I hope everyone has a lovely frugal week!:D

  11. I would love to see a picture of the library. I have a dining room that we don’t eat in. It has a piano and a small dining table in it. Iwould like to move the table to the kitchen or schoolroom but I can’t figure out what do with the room if I move it. What room do you keep the dining table in? The pictures of your home always look so pretty and sparkly clean. Thanks for being so inspiring to make things beautiful and frugal at the same time.

  12. Wow, you’ve been quite busy! Ahhh, I love summer sales. 🙂 We’ve been at it again this week:

    1. We rented free books and DVDs from the library.
    I got a book on raw vegan cooking and a book on traditional (paleo-esque) cooking. They both have such different approaches to life and food, but I still enjoyed both. Hopefully I can glean some awesome recipes from these books to get the best of both worlds.

    2. Mr. Picky Pincher made peach kombucha
    It tasted so, so heavenly. My hubby has mad skills!

    3. I made yogurt over the weekend.

    4. I made an absolutely H-U-G-E loaf of ciabatta bread that we nicknamed Ciabatta the Hut.
    I was trying to perfect my ciabatta skills and get better air holes in the dough, but still not much luck. I was able to get evenly-spaced holes throughout the whole loaf, so that was a small win at least.

    5. Mr. Picky Pincher made meatballs
    He made enough for about 40 servings, so we’ll have meatballs for many months to come. We decided to have them for Sunday supper as meatball subs and they were so good!! Not healthy, but delicious and cheap nonetheless.

    6. We got good deals at Costco
    Mr. Picky Pincher got motor oil for the truck for a good price and we picked up a bulk bag of coffee beans. I also found a box of 36 maracons for $15, which was a steal. They aren’t as good as the ones from our local bakery, but they are good for satisfying macaron cravings. And they’re freezable, so I don’t have to eat all of them at once–even though I want to!

    The best deal at Costco was recharging our printer ink cartridges. It cost about $10 per cartridge to reload them with ink at the Costco Photo Center; that’s over half off buying new cartridges. Score!

    7. I made homemade lotion out of coconut oil and vitamin E oil.
    It stays in liquid form, but my skin is silky smooth. I added a touch of lavender for scent and it smells divine.

    8. I tried to sew a few things.
    I made a stuffed animal out of fabric scraps for my nephew. It turned out okay, but I still have a lot to learn.

    9. I made tortillas
    We found that our homemade tortillas keep in the fridge for a week, so it looks like we need to make tortillas each weekend. I don’t mind, though, since it only takes 30 minutes or so.

    10. Mr. Picky Pincher made his own lox bagels at home
    Previously he was spending $10 on a lox bagel from a local bagel shop. This week, he decided to get all of the ingredients himself and make it. While it still cost $5 to make, it’s a cheaper alternative for a dish that my hubby can’t get enough of.

  13. I love the wooden look of your dining room with those portraits. You have a good style. It’s refreshing to get new furniture and/or even just move some around to create a new feel for the room.

    I’m starting to think about Christmas. I don’t want to spend a lot because I want to pay down my mortgage a little bit and put more away in our retirement accounts. My son’s birthday and Christmas gifts are already purchased through awesome sales late last year and early this year.

    So to discourage spending I upped the automatic principal payment for the mortgage, and I upped the contribution percentage of my 401k.

    Here are more of my frugal efforts this past week.

    Have a great week everyone!

  14. Congratulations on your new furniture! Sounds like you are now set for a long while.
    I attended a conference out of town most of last week, so it was a more spendy week than usual. I did, however, make up frozen dinners for my hubby to eat while I was gone. I have divided plates with covers that I bought years ago and I fill these with leftovers. If food is readily available like this, he will eat it. If not, he eats out. So a big savings there. I also packed a lunch for my flight out and took snacks. The conference included breakfast and most dinners, so I ended up only buying 1 lunch and 1 dinner while I was away.
    We had broccoli, parsnips, lettuce and peas from the garden. The broccoli is bolting in the heat — I will plant more seeds for a fall crop. I am harvesting the first tomatoes. They are not as flavorful as they have been in the past, but we are eating them anyway. I will can them and make sauce as well, as more of them become ripe. We should get our first okra this week, too. I am growing it in the greenhouse and it is doing well. The chipmunks are eating the green beans, so I doubt I will get any. My birthday is this month, so I enjoyed a free burger from Red Robin.
    A fun note from the conference — one evening we attended a fancy cocktail party. My roommate wore a gorgeous dress, which she admitted she paid over $200 for. I wore a skirt and an embroidered silk blouse I found at a thrift store several years ago for $8. I was pleased to receive many compliments on my thrifted outfit.

  15. The house is designed with a great room layout and there is a space at the opposite end of the living room, next to the kitchen, where we have our table for eating. We don’t have 2 tables, like some people do; there is just one eating area in the house. We have school at that table.

    My parents have the same floor plans we do (we live in tract homes and they are next door). They had a dining table in where we have our library, plus a table where we have ours. It was really tight as a dining room; when everyone sat down to eat, no one could get up from the table and pass by. Eventually, my mom got rid of her table in there and put a piano in its place.

  16. Hello! Lovely dining room. Frugal accomplishments for this week:
    1. Stayed home except for Thursday in which I combined all errands, including grocery shopping to that day.
    2. I budget 120.00 per week for groceries and tolietries. Only spent 90.00 this week. Yay! It was an odd but great feeling to go through the grocery store and say” I don’t need that, I can wait for a sale before I buy more of this, etc.” I could have probably only spent 50 and been fine but I still need to stock up on meat so I bought extra meat to put in the freezer.
    3. Cooked all meals at home.
    4. Tried your beef stroganoff recipe. It was a huge hit and will now go into the recipe box. I made it with some ground round I had gotten last week in the reduced bin. My grocery store has a mark down on meat that expires that day. I buy it and freeze it that same day and then use it later on. This ground round was marked down to less than 2 dollars a pound which is a very good deal here. I bought six pounds that day.
    5. Was given some watermelon jelly and blueberry jam that a gentleman in my church made. I don’t care for watermelon but my family loved it with cream cheese on toast.
    6. Our power company has recently started sending out a statement showing your monthly usage compared to the previous month and such. I know a lot of places already do this but this is new for us and had been very helpful. We have cut our power bill in half over the past four years but we have much more room for improvement. We have budget billing which takes our average and we pay the same amount each month so we don’t get hit with huge bills in the summer but if can cut our usage even more, they will adjust it.
    7. Our local grocery store has a rewards card where your earn points for every dollar you spend. I shop there weekly for our groceries and I accumulate a lot of points. Each month that have certain food items that you can get with points and they also have promotion items you can get with the points. I have, over the past year, gotten a full set of authentic Blue willow dishes and serving sets, a full set of silverware and serving pieces with a beautiful wooden storage chest, and a full set of storage containers with locking lids that I needed desperately. This had enabled me to get things I wanted without spending extra money because it’s money I spend already on groceries.

    I think that’s all. Have a great week.

  17. I love the way you display your children’s photos.

    I applied for six different scholarships. I picked up a lot of float shifts this past week (I’m a float nurse). I am doing it all again this coming week too.

  18. The fruit trees on sale were a nice find. I keep watching the garden center here for discounts. I have no time to post on my blog as my husband has taken three weeks off work so we can work hard on the new house. We had several frugal necessary purchases as we progress on construction.

    ~A local tile place quoted us $1000 for materials to tile our master shower. We found tile on clearance at Lowe’s and will have closer to $350 in materials.

    ~I took advantage of last week’s Amazon Prime Day promotion for a free $10 gift card when purchasing a $50 gift card. I used those plus a $25 gift card earned through Swagbucks to purchase a lift for the Kitchen Aid mixer cabinet. It actually cost me just the $50. I chose a bookmark gift card so I ended up with a cute bookmark too.

    ~We waited for the 40% off sale at Sherwin Williams to purchase all of the paint for the new house. That saved around $800!

    ~I priced faucets at several places. The bathroom sink faucets were cheaper from Home Depot saving nearly $75. We opted to go with a more basic showerhead for the second bathroom to save money.

    Doing the work ourselves has been very hard but we should end up saving $70,000-$80,000 total. That alone makes it all worth it.

  19. Thank you for replying to me the other day! I looked at your Etsy shop and it os great you do lovely sewing! You are a very productive person Lorna, love Annabelxx

  20. Hi Brandy and all – My frugal activities this past week have included making french bread, freezing zest and juice of limes that I purchased on sale, taking grandkids to a local public farm ($0) instead of the zoo ($$), watching a couple of shows on tv instead of renting (Black List and Reign), completed pjs for granddaughter for Christmas gift, reading library books and deep cleaning house (as good as any gym membership!)

    I love seeing photos of your house Brandy. I’d love to see the rest – especially when you get your new furniture.

  21. The weather here remains cool and wet – very unusual.
    I saved money this week by using what Mother Nature provides for us. I made jelly from black currants I found growing wild and I am collecting thimbleberries and raspberries to make more jelly. I store them in the freezer until I have enough.

    We have been able to get out in the bush to gather firewood. There is a lot of logging going on in our area and we have permission from the wood lot owner to scavenge wood from the burn piles. We heat with wood all winter and every truck load we get save us about $150. So far we have gathered about 4 truckloads, which is about half the wood we will need this winter.

    Have a great week everyone!

  22. I’m afraid that I haven’t been doing well. I had to up my grocery budget to $200 a month because I got put in the hospital for critically low hemoglobin. (I went into the hospital at 6.5 – normal is 12.) I’ve been buying more green vegetables and a little more meat. Fortunately I have a lot of turkey in my freezer from the Thanksgiving sale. So we’ve been eating that.

    I made several loaves of bread using home ground wheat. My oldest daughter made some banana bread which was really good.

    I’ve been cooking a lot more with various types of beans and have been looking on the internet for fresh, new vegan recipes. We eat meat sparingly so beans are our go-to. Vegan recipes don’t have cheese so that helps the budget too.

    I plan to start doing better. I wish you guys much frugality for this week. 🙂

  23. I didn’t know you could eat sweet potato vine, since I am growing this I will have to check it out.

    Part of the reason I love reading your blog, I always learn something new or am reminded of something I forgot.

    I love the way you have your pictures.

    I can understand not having room to walk around the dining table. When we were at the table Hubby would be sitting in the bedroom doorway (would have to open the door so he could sit down) and those next to the fireplace mantle didn’t get up to go get anything or leave the table , just wasn’t room to sit and walk around the person next to you.

    Did a lot of canning ….looking at doing Aug goals this week because July isn’t getting done much

  24. I planted some seeds already on hand – Johnny Jump Up violets, Italiko Rosso dandelion, and some dwarf nasturtiums – in the railing containers for our front porch. I’ve yet to have any luck with nasturtiums even sprouting at this house, so this finished up the packet (perhaps that was a bad lot – we’ll find out with this final planting). I had a full packet of the Johnny Jump Ups so I overseeded the nasturtium container with those to fill in if the nasturtiums don’t turn out. Deeply watered the flower bed of calendula and lavender; my calendula are going strong and are on a third cycle of growing. I’m very excited about that as they were seeds from a friend that I let self-seed in the fall; the children and I have deadheaded twice and reseeded with them – this set of seed heads I will collect in case we have to move next year; then I’ll still have flowers from my friend wherever we are stationed next.

    We went to the farmers market in a nearby city Saturday, with plans to go to a big yarn shop there and a nearby antique shop. There was a big festival going and the yarn shop owners didn’t open the shop. Cheapest yarn shop trip I’ve ever been on. 😉 In the antique shop, my son found a metal canteen and canteen cup, which my husband has been looking for for camping. The only thing they sell/issue to him now is plastic canteens, which can’t be put in a fire for sterilizing water when in the back country – he was overjoyed to find this one and it was in good condition. We looked at a hope chest that was a screaming deal and several old sewing machines, but decided to wait (“saving” $300 in the process LOL). We stopped at our favorite garden shop and enjoyed their pigs and chickens, and picked up a couple of things. They now offer discounts for military and senior citizens, which we were grateful for. I was able to pick up a free planting chart for fall & winter gardening so we can get our garden going again this month for fall/winter harvests. I already have a ton of seeds so we’ll use those and the containers we have on hand – I also have fertilizer already so we’ll rejuvenate the container soils with that.

    We have received several utility rebate checks over the past few months – those go into our savings account. (We are charged an average by our housing management and those who use less than the neighborhood average get the difference back.) I don’t normally expect checks in the summer but we had some very hot weeks in April and May and folks are using portable AC units (our homes don’t have heat pumps or AC), so that bumped the average up and got us refunds. We also paid off our truck at the beginning of June, so I bumped up our automatic deposits into our savings and the children’s savings accounts.

  25. Glad you were in a position to get the furniture at the price you wanted to pay. That’s always a great feeling :). We have mismatched chairs at the table right now as my father-in-law (who is way over weight and leans back in chairs) broke one of ours. I keep hoping to find four matching chairs that go with the table or find a new chair at the used stores that will match the other three that are still in one piece. Nothing so far, unfortunately.

    Last week, for me, was productive I have to say. I got one Christmas gift done last week and am getting things accomplished.

    My list for the week can be found here…

  26. There are sooooo many sewing tutorials online now a days that it should be pretty easy to find a video when you are trying to learn a new technique. I am a self taught seamstress – I can come up with patterns and designs for custom costumes but I cannot quilt to save my life 🙂 Everyone has their strengths – just keep making things and it will start to come easier. OH and reading patterns?? HAHAHAHA They [i]say[/i] they’re in English but I think it is just some new fangled language the companies made up – even the “easy” ones! It takes a bit to get used to deciphering them

  27. I fixed a flat tire on my stroller so I could walk my kids to the pool for swim lessons last week and this week. It’s a mile away, so saves a little gas and gives us all a bit more exercise. I signed up for a free 5k race for our family to participate in next week.

    Back in May I received a new Cuisinart for Mother’s Day, and I finally got around to selling my old food processor for a bit of extra cash.

    I made tortillas, corn bread, fettuccine noodles, French bread, and granola. I canned some cherry jam.

    I received some zucchini and apricots from my in-laws’ garden. The zucchini plant in my garden has its first zucchini almost ready to pick.

  28. We are still floundering a bit here between me quitting my job and not finding a new one yet, the husband’s jobs falling off (he hasn’t gotten any new jobs in 2 weeks – so no paychecks) and the fiasco with our kid’s rowing coach but we luckily have a decently stocked pantry yet and are stocked for at least 2 weeks yet on pet food – it’s just the utility bills I worry about.
    Anyways – here is what we did manage to do:
    *Sold all of our old rabbit water bottles for $7
    *One of the clients from the kennel has “hired” me to ferry her back from dropping of her vehicles from repair shops + she would like me to help her with selling off some of her antiques, do some deep cleaning in the house and help with yard work. This won’t be regular, dependable income but is most definitely needed $. I already drove her once and she paid me $20 – which paid a small bill.
    *Used Kmart Rewards points to “purchase” a set of plain flour sack towels to applique for the vintage trailers and a bag of cat food plus they gave me another $10 in Rewards points – which I will probably use for more cat food. Yeah for free!
    *Found a lovely blue throw pillow that matched the upholstery I am doing in the ’68 trailer for 50 cents at a sale.
    *Used my Khol’s cash ($30) to purchase a decent sharp knife and a very small food chopper for “The Bus” and I still have $4 left.
    *Used a coupon and picked up the free travel size shower gel at Bath and Body Works – it will go in my daughter’s Christmas stocking.
    *Made all meals at home!! That is a huge accomplishment – of course there really isn’t any extra money to blow on eating out right now.
    *Not frugal but necessary – we decided to go ahead and use my last check to get our youngest Dane spayed – at 115 pounds, she is big enough and I really, really don’t want to deal with a heat cycle right now. There will still be enough left over to pay the gas bill as well.
    *Harvested the last of the peas, carrots are finally big enough to use, potatoes are almost ready, picked the first pickle and I have lots of green tomatoes on the vines and the pepper plants and cantaloupe plants are full of blossoms! The lovage is big enough to start pulling leaves from now and hopefully I can get one more picking from the cilantro. I think the basil, beans and lettuce are complete losses though due to the baby bunny getting into the garden. I also pulled every one of my cabbage, cauliflower and brocolli plants – they were COVERED in cabbage worms – I did manage to salvage a quart size bag for the freezer. I think I will stick to only fall plantings of them from now on.
    * I fixed a pair of too short jeans by taking the embroidered bottom hem off a pair of worn our Capris and sewing them to the bottom hem of the jeans – worked perfect and good enough to be seen out in public in 🙂 I also found a pair of shorts in my mending pile that needed elastic in the waist and made the capris that I cut the hem off of into “work” shorts for when I am doing painting type stuff (I’m a very messy painter….)
    I think that’s about it – Hope everyone’s week is going well!

    Brandi – thank you for the glimpses of your home and yard – they are an inspiration to me.

  29. Hello Everyone!
    This week:
    -my husband called our internet/phone service and was able to get our bill lowered by $40/month. Super proud of him for doing this…we asked around our neighborhood to see what others pay and realized we were paying way too much a month for this service
    -husband made bread
    -My husband and I went on a date to a local Metropark- my parents babysat and our date was free too!
    -Had dinner at my parents house after church
    -took advantage of ‘double-sale’ Wednesdays at the new Fresh Thyme market that opened near us. Was able to buy a lot of produce for $30…I am really loving this store-esp. on Wednesdays….It’s the day where the past week’s sales end and the new week’s sales begin…so for one day, double sales!
    -at the library, my daughter found a ‘free Chiptole kids-meal’ coupon on the ground. We picked that puppy up and used it!
    -I picked up RN shifts on Saturday. While I worked, my husband took our children to our town’s 150th Birthday Celebration. They attended a parade(and got a boatload of free stuff!) and went to the party in the park after the parade was over. They enjoyed free bounce houses, games and activities. Then on Saturday night (when I was done working), we all went to Fireworks to end the celebration. There, we enjoyed free popcorn and slushies!
    -Continued with all the usual…library for books and DVDs, composting, recycling, took 4 bags of decluttered stuff and dropped it off at the thrift store, turned off lights, washed baggies, etc.

    Have a great week, ya’ll!! 🙂

  30. This covers 2 weeks again.

    Put the rest of the dried elderflower into some of the Ball purple jars for storage. I think the darker colored glass will help keep the dried elderflower lighter in color.

    Dehydrated 3 quarts of pie cherries after leaving them in a sugar syrup in the fridge for a week. The cherries come out sweeter, due to the sugar & the syrup becomes a lovely red cherry juice concentrate, which I bottled.

    Made sour cherry jam with my 12 year old granddaughter. Taught her to bottle apricots & sweet cherries. She helped pick the apricots (with permission & an invitation) from a neighbor’s tree that was quite loaded, & sort those ripe enough to process. She was old enough to be shocked at the $40 /lug price of the cherries, & now better understands why her grandma has all those fruit trees. I had her figure the actual cost of each quart jar of apricots: 26 cents each, counting the cost of the electricity for processing, the cost of the water, & assuming full price for the lid insert & the sugar. She commented that neither her mother nor I ever pay full price for those. We did not count the cost of the glass jars & the rings, because both have been paid for decades ago. We bottled a canner load of apricots, one of cherries, & one load with jars of each. The last load, she prepped, filled & processed, very excited to be doing everything herself, except moving the canner of water from the sink to the stove, by herself. Can you tell her grandma is proud of her? We took the fruit that she put up home to her family to use.

    Replaced the sugar from the pantry that we used canning while it was on sale.

    Bottled the rest of the apricots as they ripened in the bowls. Made apricot jam with the “good parts” of the apricots with issues that I had frozen before we left for our visit, combined with the last of those after canning.

    Continued to pick more red currants & blackberries & freeze them. Picked gooseberries. Prepped then froze the gooseberries to process later. Continued to pick blackberries & blueberries in 3-7 berry quantities, & froze them. I have one cup of frozen blackberries in the freezer now, accumulated this way, which I will likely use in a mixed berry jam with the gooseberries, currants, red raspberries, blueberries or strawberries.

    Accepted grass clippings from the neighbor to use as mulch. Finally cleared all the weeds from the strawberry & red raspberry beds that go the depth of the back yard. Discovered that the ant hill I thought I had dispatched in the empty section is still alive & well, so I disturbed it well & sprayed again. I am glad I left that section empty, since the ant hill appears to be well entrenched & may take all summer to eradicate. Continued to fill at least one tree pot a day with weeds. Most days I fill 2-3, but at least one gets done. I try to make sure the garbage can is completely filled when we pulled it to the curb.

    Cut comfrey & made some comfrey-infused olive oil to use in a salve. I used a candle warmer to keep the oil warm while the beeswax melted into it, then put it into a wide mouth half-pint jar with a plastic lid to cool. The color changed from dark green to a lighter, lime green color after the salve cooled. I plan to use the salve for the arthritis in my feet.

    Pulled the pea plants & picked the fat green pods I had allowed to mature for seed next year. I planted heirloom Early Frosty this year & last & my saved seed has performed well here along the Wasatch Front.

    Cut more of the branches from the fir tree I rescued from curbside at Christmas. After stripping off the dry needles (to keep the soil acidified), I cut up the limbs & put them into the trash. When all the limbs are off, the trunk will become a few more logs in our woodpile.

  31. Melissa, I don’t mean to be nosy but I’m curious about your job hunt. I quit my job last October and spent a couple of months relaxing and caring for a grandchild. I’ve been actively looking but I am shocked at the limited opportunities. Are you finding the same?

  32. Sandra,

    I have had to deal with low hemoglobin counts with my last two pregancies. I was able to bring my levels up fairly quickly by not only being extra viligent with my diet, taking vitamin b-12, and taking the following two items (both worth every penny to have my health and strength back):
    Floadrix’s liquid Iron plus Herbs: I balked at the price when my midwife had me get this the first time, but what a HUGE difference it made, and fast.

    and Liquid Chlrophyll:

    Turkey is good. Beans are great too; I was eating black, kidney, white and pinto in larger numbers; check out my bean recipes for ideas. Bean soups with greens added in, and salads will help a lot too.

    I hope you feel better soon. I know how hard low hemoglobin can be.

  33. Thanks so much for the information Brandy! I’ve heard that Floridix is really good. I’m going to get me some. I’ve been on prescription iron pills and they haven’t moved my hemoglobin levels at all. I’m still at 9.4 which is better enough that I can tell a difference. I have to get my level checked regularly. I get it checked again next week. I hope it’s higher. I have surgery on August 10.

  34. I took that, included more iron in my diet, took the chlorophyll, took b-12, took iron pills, took vitamin C, and had my numbers up significantly in two weeks’ time.
    Meals were things like minestrone soup with Swiss chard, Swiss chard soup, bean soup, lots of bean recipes, and some meat. I also made whole wheat breads and crackers too (my wheat crackers with white bean dip was one snack I had then that also helped).

    And my energy was SO much better, too! What a help that was. I had been thinking I was just tired because I was pregnant (baby #7), but it was really low hemoglobin. This last pregnancy we really focused on keeping my numbers up. I took both supplements twice a day. The Floradix is supposed to be really easily absorbable.

    Not having cheese is good too, since calcium blocks iron absorption. I had to watch that my last pregnancy; I needed to have calcium too, so I took it at other times of the day from when I was taking the iron.

    I hope you can get your numbers up soon! You’ll need them up a lot before your surgery. Best of luck to you!

  35. How nice that your library is coming together!

    Our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    We took our new-to-us school bus on a beach camping trip last weekend! It was a beach cleanup, tons of fun, and virtually free (except for the diesel it cost to get there… ouch!). How lovely to sleep near the sea for a couple of nights.

    This past weekend, we packed a picnic and met some friends at a local swimming hole for an afternoon of free fun.

    We’re trying one of those “cook-at-home” delivery services for free, courtesy of a friend’s referral. Two meals taken care of this week for free (we will, of course, cancel before we get billed).

    We used our employer-sponsored vision insurance to get thorough eye exams and fancy new glasses… can’t wait until they come in!

  36. I’ve been very busy the last two weeks. It seems this is a season of ‘little changes’ in my life and I’m not really sure how to adjust to so many things at once. I worked on 3rd quarter budget sheet today and realized that if things felt a little snug it’s because things are well…a little snug! lol. This despite a slight raise in pay (our first in two years and only the second in 8 years). I picked up two chickens for $.75/pound this afternoon but couldn’t stock more heavily because I shut down my small freezer and a friend dropped by three dozen ears of corn yesterday which sufficiently topped my big freezer off and my fridge freezer as well. I’m very thankful for the gift! I decided today that we might well postpone purchasing groceries this week until next week. I have bread, milk and eggs enough to do us for another week and the added savings will be a bonus of sorts . I potted up herbs and succulents from my garden into pots I painted this morning as a housewarming gift. And I went about my house yesterday taking pictures of rooms from different angles. An eye opener about what I could do to improve looks of home in several areas and most of it has to do with adjusting or clearing some of the visual clutter. I ordered some sun dresses and tops through Zulily and received them last week. I like the quality of the things purchased there and am happy to report it all fits well. Congrats on the new furniture. I know you chose well so that it will last a good long while. Thanks for posting about the low hemoglobin and the supplements. I will pass that information on to a friend who was just recently hospitalized with same. And thank you to the lady with the weed killer. I have some things that just won’t stop growing up through wed mat, cardboard, newspaper and mulch that I have to get under control. I am going to paint them liberally with that solution!

  37. Also, try to do some of your cooking in a cast iron pan, and like Brandy said, don’t eat/take calcium around the same time you’re taking your iron. Dark meat turkey has more iron than the breast. If you like beef, you could consider cooking it just for yourself once or twice each week (rather than feed to it the entire family, which gets expensive), or buy just enough roast beef from the deli for one sandwich.

  38. Frugal accomplishments for the week at our house were:

    We ate all our meals at home.

    We were able to find whole chickens for 68 cents per pound so we bought four of them.

    A co-worker gave me some yellow squash from her garden.

    I made yogurt in the slow cooker.

    I am getting ideas for Christmas gifts this year and will be starting on them in the next couple of weeks.

    I have been diligent in making menu plans each week and it has really helped in keeping the grocery bill down.

    My husband is more and more getting on board with my frugal activities. What a help that is!

  39. We picked and canned 8 quarts of raspberries.

    I have a friend who owns a farm/garden stand and she frequently gives me produce for free that is blemished (unable to sell) for our consumption or for our 6 chickens. We made many lovely meals from this week’s free produce to include a peach salad with feta and basil. I harvested lettuce and the first of our peppers from our garden.

    My sons have a boys scout event and I bought their entire uniforms used on Ebay and just changed out the patches. I received a powerball ticket and won $12! then I bought another with the profit and won $5.00, so you could say…I’m a lottery winner! I reinvested the last $5.00 so we’ll see…..

  40. Hi Carol From Australia here,

    What do you use in your arthritis salve? Marivene i am a grandmother with it too, and with swollen feet it is hard.
    Brandy I had serious problems with iron levels too, the Floradix is wonderful the grandkids love it too, in fact it is the only herbal remedy apart from elderberry syrup that they will take..
    love to all

  41. Are they French macaroons or the American coconut version? If the latter, which I love, there is a two ingredient recipe on the Rachael Ray show website that is great and satisfies that macaroon craving. Cheap, too. The only difference I make is that I use unsweetened shredded coconut—the sweetened version is too much sweet in the cookie and the larger shreds are more to my liking than the tiny shreds. Anyway, you might want to give them a try.

  42. I too have had low hemoglobin and had good luck taking Bifera. It is OTC but usually kept behind the counter. It contains two types of iron, is more easily absorbed, and didn’t cause any constipation. Here it runs almost $20 a bottle.

    Hope your level comes up fast! I overdid things when I first started to feel better and exhausted myself.

  43. Hello all!

    I found this site about two weeks ago and love it! Thanks, Brandy for sharing all of your hard work and inspiring us all! I’ve read every single thing on this site (including the comments!). Such a great resource, and so nice to find others who want to be ‘prudent’ as well!

    I’m generally very thrifty to start with, but I tried out a whole bunch of new things this lately, including:
    – I tried several new types of beans this week, bought in bulk, and used them to make some new recipes, including Brandy’s Rosemary and White Bean soup.
    – experimented with my dehydrator to see if I could make my own dehydrated camping food. The dried fruit and dehydrated zucchini was great, but the tomato sauce leather was…interesting!
    – I taught myself how to make minestrone soup out of the tomato sauce leather so that I wouldn’t have to throw it out
    – I used the veggie scraps that I collected in my freezer to make veggie stock, and added the tomato leather, a handful of dehydrated zucchini, a handful of macaroni, a scant handful of lentils, and a limp carrot and boiled that all up to make a delicious minestrone. It was so good that I made another batch right away.
    – I made Brandy’s olive oil and rosemary bread, and gave some to my sister
    – I made tortillas (the DH loved them so much I only ended up eating 3 1/2 out of the entire batch of 16)
    – I made sandwich bread (we ate one loaf and I stuck another in the freezer)
    – I used some leftover wine that I had in my fridge from a family celebration many, many months ago to make up some wine jelly
    – I used the remaining wine to make a red wine and pea risotto for the DH.
    – I sprouted some lentils to top salads for the DH and I
    – bought strawberries on sale and dehydrated them
    – I made pesto and froze the leftovers for future use
    – I dehydrated some leftover broccoli, ground it into a powder, and added it to my morning smoothies to get an extra antioxidant boost
    – I turned some fruit that was starting to get a little soft into jam
    – I received a coupon for a free serving of potato wedges with any purchase at Tim Horton’s (a Canadian donut/coffee shop), used it when I bought myself a iced capp as a treat, and gave the potato wedges to someone begging outside. It was nice to be able to pass a blessing along.
    – worked on my swagbucks account which I only started recently. I’ll never earn as much as so many others who have posted here do, but hey, every $5 is $5!
    – I picked up a new cat-sitting client
    – I used my city’s amazing library system to download and read tons of e-books, including some cookbooks about dehydrating and slow-cooking.
    – I researched food coops and bulk food purchases for where I live. Does anyone have any recommendations for companies that sell bulk foods in Canada?
    – I planted some seeds in pots on my balcony. I got the seeds free in the mail! They’re supposed to feed butterflies and bees, and I can’t wait to see if it works. Generally, nothing will grow on my balcony, as there is no balcony above it, and the water pours down from the roof several stories above and knocks over my planters. Also, people drop their cigarette butts on my balcony. Last year I found cigarette butts in my fledgling carrots. But maybe flowers will work! 🙂 I soaked them, planted them, and they’re already little sprouts!
    – I regifted a few things that were given to me to give to an refugee family that I tutor. It’s win-win: I get rid of clutter and they get lovely gifts!
    – I set aside a whole pile of stuff for a future garage sale.

    And I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I remember just now. Thanks to everyone for sharing — I love being inspired by you all!

  44. Begonias do good in shade, too. We had a shady spot in our SoCal yard and probably spent $100 trying to find something that would grow! We finally asked lol.

  45. Sweet potato greens are delicious! What a wonderful way of decorating your house while also getting a meal out of it. 🙂

  46. Most of the same.
    * Caught water for flushing toilets and watering potted plants.
    * Cooked about 3 lbs of ground beef at once and froze it in amounts I use. Frugal in cooking and time.
    * Combined errands with church work days.
    * Began embroidering another set of flour sack towels for a Christmas gift.
    * Made no-cook dinners all week to help keep the house cool from this wicked heat wave we’re having.
    * Drip dried all of our laundry.
    * Got DVD’s from the library.
    * And my new thing, taught to me by a depression era friend (95 yo!) is soaking the laundry for 15 minutes and running it for the very minimum. Worked just fine. Saved me 6 minutes of agitation time per load.

  47. Thanks Debby! I tried begonias, boxwood, hellebores, and gardenias in this spot, and all have died. Begonias and gardenias are acid-loving plants. Our soil here is 8.2ph–extremely alkaline. Even if I put these in pots with potting soil, our water also has a ph of 8.2, and is high in salts. So, sadly, these have died.

    Begonias are very pretty. I’ve been looking at pictures of plants that grow in masses from pots and window boxes. I’ve never seen anything growing like that here. Most of those plants grow well in full sun in summer in more mild climates (plants like million bells). I tried million bells here in a place that gets some afternoon shade and they still burned within a month 🙁 Right now much of my white garden is burned to a crisp; even the rose bushes are burning. I wish I could grow these masses of flowers like I see plants such as begonias producing, but I haven’t seen those plants perform like that here. I think they just struggle to stay alive in the heat. I wish I could grow them; they are so beautiful. I do have one tiny one alive (single blooms) but all others have died; this one has stayed so tiny for years that it’s almost unnoticeable.

    I’ve thought about hostas, too, but I’ve never seen them here; I don’t know that they like the heat.

    The sweet potato vine will burn in full sun here; it needs some shade.

    What has worked well for me so far in this spot: Sweet potato vine in summer, and cyclamen and English primroses in winter.

    I’ve grown aloe here as well, but it had to be brought in some winters.

  48. Carol, all I use is the comfrey, the olive oil & the beeswax. 1 cup of comfrey, covered with 1 cup of olive oil, heated at 175-200 degrees for 3 hours in a nonmetal container. I used a canning jar, placed in a small Corelle casserole with some water in the bottom of the casserole dish to heat evenly. Strain out the comfrey. Add a few tablespoons of grated beeswax, & stir until it melts, again, with a non- metal utensil. I used a clean Popsicle stick. It took 4-5 hours for the beeswax to melt on the candle warmer plate. I store mine in the fridge.

  49. I have a problem if someone googles my name – which most employers do now – w/o looking any further or asking me about it, so many times, I’m out of luck. I am on disability and am only looking for somewhere around 15 hours a week. Enough to help pay utilities if needed and keep all our critters fed and vetted. I have alot of apps out right now but have not received any calls yet. I have a sewing business as well and hope that will bring in some needed income – it’s just not dependable.

  50. Mandy, the TASTE OF HOME website has a recipe for zucchini chocolate chip muffins. I’ve not made it but I was planning too. It received almost all 5star reviews.

  51. Last week was our week for “hose” problems–uggh! The radiator hose on Hub’s truck had to be replaced and the water hose on our refrigerator split and had to be replaced (fortunately we were home and noticed the problem before we had any water damage). The repairs were not cheap, but they were less expensive than a new truck (or payments) and a new fridge! 😉

    Frugal efforts included:

    * Hubs rode his bike to work two days and worked from home one day.

    * We set the thermostat on the AC to 80F and opened up the doors and windows in the early morning and at night.

    * Made bread.

    * Harvested apples and made applesauce.

    * Harvested zucchini.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  52. Happy to help, the “recipe” came from a local gardening legend called, Colin Campbell, what an amazing, knowledgeable man he was. If you google “Gardening Australia” you can read a lot of his tips and tricks in the archives.

  53. So funny to see you say you went to the farmer’s market to save money – here they are almost always more expensive

  54. We attended a conference with my husband at the beach. The room and his meals are all paid for. His office also hosted a low country boil for everyone one night. To save money, we took a cooler full of drinks and waters. We also took our own snacks.
    I sold several more items on a local fb page. I also sold 3 garbage bags of clothing through a girl that does it through fb. She has a huge list of people that buy from her. She gets 30% of the profit, but takes the pictures, lists items, etc. making it worth it.
    Also, donated a large amount of stuff to a local thrift store. Looking forward to continuing cleaning out and getting rid of more items.

  55. Melissa, I want to hug you – especially your comment on deciphering patterns.
    Sew so Easy…translates to sew so frustrated.
    Usually I have 2-3 attempts before I think the final is beautiful/acceptable/didn’t have to hide anything – ready for public consumption even after 20+ years of sewing as a hobby.

  56. I had to laugh last week. Our area is in a drought, which is unusual—very low rainfall and hotter than usual temperatures. I noticed some weeds in one of my flower beds were burnt to a crisp by the sun. So far, that’s the only advantage I’ve been able to find. I only planted beets and green peppers this year and they are all still tiny despite daily watering. We did get 1/2 inch of rain one day this week. That’s the most we’ve seen lately.

  57. The Reader’s Digest put out a book in 1995 called “Complete Guide to Sewing” ISBN # 0-88850-247-8. I believe I bought mine second hand but cannot find a price anywhere. Perhaps your library would have it or order it on inter-library loan for you. It has some wonderful photos and directions and I thought it was a good reference book for myself, even though I am a fairly experienced sewer. I can’t imagine what you would want to sew that isn’t covered in this book!

  58. Hi Carol,
    I have a friend named Carol in Australia and just wondered if you were her?! She lives in Melbourne and has 2 grandsons. I live in Pennsylvania, USA.

  59. Brandy, if the sweet potato vines do not work, I have had success growing New Guinea impatience in pots in full shade. They come in many colors, including white, and get very large even in full shade!

  60. Brandy, congratulations on your furniture purchases, and all the rearranging associated. I look forward to pictures. Also, a picture of your baby boy would be welcome too! Soon you will need to update your photo wall.

    Did all the usual things here…composted, recycled, cooked at home, gardened, preserved said garden produce, re-used ziplocs, hung clothes to dry (some, never all), mended. Received our note from the gas/elec company that we are getting our credit for 4 months for Cool Credits. They can turn off our A/C for up to 8 hr/day if needed up to 20 days total. We never notice when they do. Usually its only a couple hours at a time, I think, or 15 min out of every hour. There is a control on the A/C. But we don’t have the really extended high heat here so many of you do. Received 2.00 in mail…came along with a survey from the Department of Transportation. Filled that out and sent it back. Read 3 library books…doing both our church summer reading program and the public library, so read books can count for both.

    Harvested zucchini, yellow summer squash, rutabaga, lettuces, broccoli, dill, mint, parsley, scallions, pea pods, green and wax beans, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, eggplant, Early girl and sweet 100 and cherry tomatoes, hot and mild hot peppers. Youngest daughter showed babysitting kids how to make sprouts so by the end of the week we had several kinds to try.

    Baked 2 loaves white bread, 2 of rye, made rolls that we used for sandwiches, grilled chicken shish ka bobs with many grilled vegetables too served with rice pilaf, made stove top kettle corn, cooked up 2 lbs of pinto beans with onions and seasonings then pureed them and put into 1 cup and 2 cup freezer containers. Had bean and cheese totstadas and burritos topped with lettuce, onion, tomato, salsa and plain yogurt. Made American (cold) potato salad with our new red potatoes. Made broccoli slaw with shredded carrots, broccoli stems and cabbage. Made tuna sandwich filling and mock tuna sandwich filling. Made applesauce coffeecake with some of last year’s applesauce. Made rhubarb blueberry sauce, blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes. Been eating many fresh blueberries as we had our order in from Michigan.

  61. Carol- I make a similar salved, but I add lavender, calendula, raw honey, and a few drops of tea tree oil and rosemary oil, works on sore muscles, cuts, burns and bites. We haven’t used neosporin since.

  62. Last week was a pretty good week overall.
    -made bread, sliced and froze (two slices per ziploc bag) since there are only two of us at home.
    -I had bought a bottle of pesto sauce at Costco, froze it last year, and finally decided I would never use it because it was so big…so Last month I defrosted it and split it into smaller plastic freezer containers and refroze the smaller containers. I thawed one of the containers out and used it last week, it worked perfectly! I also did the same trick with lemons, I had juiced a whole bag of lemons earlier in the year and froze in large containers. So last month I defrosted one and split into smaller containers. Now I pull out a small container, defrost it and it lasts for a week! I am learning that there is a science to this 😉
    -cooked most meals at home, and for the two meals we ate out, went out for lunch rather than dinner.
    -bought a gift card for our favorite restaurant, if you spend $50 on the card, they add in $25. So I bought a $100 card which turned into $150 with their match. That will cover us for the next year! My husband initially thought I was crazy to spend so much at one time, but over the past two years, we have done this and saved a lot. But it only saved us since we would have eaten there anyway. I truly have become a stereotype of an old Arizona retired person, I am now obsessed with happy hour and early bird menus 😉
    -still working on eating down the supplies in our freezer. Each fall I defrost the freezer and then stock up on the fall turkey, ham and butter sales. I still have three turkeys, four pounds of butter and one ham left ;).

  63. That’s too bad, I agree that Begonias are beautiful. I thought maybe the LV climate was similar enough to SoCal to try. I also like the sweet potato vine a lot. I always plant one on each side of my petunias in the whiskey barrel in my driveway. The two together are quite lovely and look good from late April until we put the yard to bed in early November.

  64. Roberta, open windows at night are one thing I really miss from SoCal. We lived near Magic Mtn and the night was cool nearly every summer night. I could leave the windows open until almost noon ever day before needing the A/C. Here, no such thing. The humidity is just too high. I do love KS though. 🙂

  65. Debby,

    I grew up in Castaic, California–not far from where you were, it seems! I have to say that the climate is different. When my brother come to visit (he lives in Southern California) he always remarks on it. Our winters are colder, we get more wind, and we’re a lot hotter in summer. We also get much less rain.

    Petunias are sold here in early spring and then they’re gone. They don’t like our hot summers. Much of my white garden is just burnt right now 🙁

  66. Thank you Mary Ellen and Sarah( I am going to try your remedy too)
    I come from Avalon in Sydney , on the beaches, at the moment living in Bathurst( a university country town)
    I have raised my 3 grandchildren for the past 14 yrs and the eldest is at University here in Bathurst doing paramedicine)
    It’s been hard but Brandy’s blog is a blessing it makes me aware of the beautiful in our lives..and how to create that in your life…not to mention the frugal aspect which is such a help

    bye for now
    Carol from Australia

  67. My thought was were was you Brandy when I went through this with birth #1, wait, you wasn’t born yet 😀
    I am passing this along to my granddaughter(in law) and she is sharing it with her mom who is also having problems….hum… need to share this with Daddy as he just mentioned the same issue and he’s 89
    You are a wonderful blessing

  68. Athanasia,
    Where did your berries come from in Mich? Here in the U.P. we’re not finding many, at all. In an hour of driving, stopping, looking, i only got about 1/4 C. I may have to take a longer drive…We had nothing last year, what with the drought. This year, we’re getting rain nearly every week. (Which causes other problems..)

  69. This is a really random question but has anyone been successful at dehydrating potatoes to make their own instant potato flakes? I made them just fine but reconstituting them was the problem. It just stayed lumpy and chunky. If I cooked it much longer they wouldn’t be “instant” any more. Just wondering if anyone has any tips. Thanks!

  70. Red meat, particularly liver (if you can stand it) is very high in iron, as are most leafy greens. Vitamin C aides in iron absorption, so some citrus juice or fruit along with your iron may help some. Many of the cooked cereals- farina, malt o meal, are iron fortified also- as long as you don’t use milk in them.
    A bowl of hot cereal with juice for breakfast, a spinach and kale salad for lunch with some beans and a lemon or berry vinaigrette and a bit of red meat with tomatoes/tomatoe sauce for dinner is iron packed and might help your numbers.

  71. Just throwing this out there as an idea for people looking to make a few extra dollars. If you have the space and energy, you might consider doing childcare. Not necessarily a full fledged daycare, but Im sure there are many parents with 1-2 children who need reasonable priced, reliable care. The need is particularly great if you are willing to accommodate non traditional work schedules, say 2nd or 3rd shifts.
    Having raised 3 children with 2 very NOT 9 to 5 schedules, I know how valuable affordable, trustworthy care can be.

  72. Greetings!
    We’ve been having a wet, hot few days. I’m not a fan. Although, my water barrel stays full and the garden stays watered.
    *My plum tree has black knot, so i’ve been cutting it off the tree. My plums are itty, bitty. I don’t know if they’ll get any bigger, at this point.
    *My indoor lemon tree dropped all its fruit. I added fertilizer and spoke sweet nothings to it, and it’s got many new fruits growing. I hope they become actual lemons some day.
    *I had four tomato plants in pots. Three didn’t have any fruit, so i pulled those and planted beans. Those were the second round of plants i’ve been through. I may take this as a sign that i should just buy my tomatoes. It’s probably cheaper.
    *The birds got my cherries, except two that i ate and eight that are sitting on the counter. It looks like the beginning of black knot on this tree, too. I may pull this tree and plant a crabapple. (If i can find one in a dwarf or semi-dwarf size.)
    *My two apple trees have more fruit than last year when i got about six apples. They are dwarf size. Something is on them, as well. I thought it might be scab, but my trees were rated to not get that, or highly unlikely. I’m hoping it’s not fire blight, which would likely mean cutting them down. I think i may spray some neem oil on them and see if that helps. I’m not doing well in the fruit growing dept.
    *I trimmed a lilac tree at the back of our little lot so my herb/flower garden gets more light.
    *I trimmed the rosemary and lovage. The lovage was added to my jar of dried celery leaves. The rosemary is still drying.
    *I made a huge container of homemade shake and bake for the freezer. I’m now saving all crusts and cracker bits to replenish my bread crumb jar.
    *I entered my coke codes. I get these from my Summer job. (Tourists galore!!) I was able to buy a 10.00 e-card for walmart. This is the first time i’ve done the e-card for walmart. I love this! I get my prescriptions there. (I have a love/hate relationship with walmart) I got my husband several boxes of cereal while i was there. I can’t go in and not find something we need…Eeeeessch…
    *As someone else mentioned, i’m working on my sourdough. This is a several years long project. I keep my house too cold in the Winter so i try to step-it-up in the Summer. I aded ground flax seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I’ve made three loaves. They taste only good enough. I want more sour. They could rise more, too. Ongoing…
    *No skying last week, but we talked to all our children. I love how they call us, not just us calling them.
    *I sold a couple of things on ebay. I’m leaving the money in paypal so i can’t spend it as easily. I’m working hard at saving money for two large trips i want to take in 2017. (And a new floor.)
    *I bought some dried nuts at a garage sale this Spring. So, i’ve been sitting on the porch and cleaning them. Nuts are so expensive! These were 3.00 a full quart freezer bag and the money went to the grand children’s college fund who gathered them. I can’t remember what kind they are, but they’re good! They’ll go in the freezer.
    *I finally threw out the liner in the bathroom shower. I figure i got about three years of extra wear from that curtain by washing it once a month. I replaced it with one i picked up at a thrift store for 99cents. It’s so cheap that i don’t expect this one to last as long.
    Plus, the usual; washing with cold and hanging on the line,( when it’s not raining), saving shower water, cooking meals at home etc. It helps to be working; i don’t feel like shopping. And, reading this blog and reading books about saving always help!
    Have a great week!

  73. I made garden pepper “steak”- eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, black beans, onions and peppers slow cooked in tomatoes an beef broth served over rice, and garden “chicken” and dumplings- vegetables in chicken broth and pureed white beans, and a minestrone soup with beans with homemade bread. I use boullion to make the broths, and the rice, beans, and flour for the dumplings and bread I buy in bulk. I had enough of each to share with my daughter, and leftovers for lunch. I figured out I made 3 dinners for 3 adults, a growing boy, and 2 toddlers, plus several work lunches for me, for less than 3.00, as most of it came from the garden! I dehydrated the peelings and tops from some of the vegetables and some apples we had this week for bunny treats (My son has a pet rabbit, and the store charges a ridiculous amount of money for small bags of “treat” food- which is nothing more than dried scraps of fruits and veggies).

    I mended small seam tears in 2 scrub tops before they got larger. I buy my work scrubs either from thrift stores, or clearance sales (we have to wear a specific color, so thrifting them is a catch as catch can proposition). These were 2 of my older ones, but I hope to get a couple more years use out of them. One of my pairs of scrub pants has worn so thin in the seat its beyond the point of wearing safely, so I used the legs and the elastic waistband to make pajama shorts for the grandsons, and added what was left to the dust rag collection.

    I was off yesterday, so my son and I went to a local theater for their free summer family movie. 4 times during the summer, they have a free PG movie at 10:30 am. I took homemade trail mix and reuseable water bottles with lemonade with us for a treat.

    With the temperatures over 90 most days the other half and I have retreated from our second story bedroom onto the couch or an air mattress in his work room. We live in a cape cod that was built before central air. The heating and cooling system is rather inefficient on the second story, so it gets very hot during the day, and the only was to make it bearable at night is to run an additional window air conditioner. When it gets very hot, that doesn’t even do the job well enough, so we just turned it off and are camping out on the first floor for the time being, which should save some on the electric bill.

  74. I enjoyed very much reading about the amazing things you are doin.You probably think that it is just usual but my grandparents taught me many things and I am deeply grateful I am enjoying very much reading what you are doing. Thank you

  75. Brandy,
    I really admire your frugal accomplishments. I’m a single woman meaning I don’t have as many hands in the household as you. Last week, I saved money by downloading audio books from the local library. I’m listening to Ruth Reichl’s Delicious, which is a fun foodie novel. I also spent a morning in my handyman’s garden. Then we went to a community garden. He gave me Swiss chard, tomatoes, cucumbers, some batches of pesto he made. I called a friend and took some of the produce to her house. We made a wonderful salad from the produce. She grilled chicken. I sauteed the Swiss chard. I had a great time catching up with her and her family over dinner. All weekend, I made sure to cook, roast, or create meals using all that great produce. I didn’t want any of it to go to waste. I also shopped for meats on sale at my local Fresh Market. The store offers meat sales on certain days.
    I also cleaned out the floor of my pantry, finding items I no longer use or never used. I carried them to Goodwill.
    So I had a great week. But I am working hard to be more efficient as I start work on my next book. I was curious about the routine of your day. What time do you normally get up and go to bed? Thanks, Bridgette

  76. I have been having to do IRON infusions once a week, 2 weeks ago I had a huge reaction and broke out in hives and almost clawed my own skin off my arms and legs before I even realized it was a reaction to the medication. (I had been given medication to make me very sleepy and I was scratching in my sleep) My iron is still low. Doctor is not sure what I will need to do now to fix this problem.
    My problem is not a ‘normal’ problem. Years ago I had gastric bypass. Lost over 200 pounds. (Great) But now I am paying a very high price. Things like iron from food etc. pass through my body fast and often do not stay in my body. I can not take any calcium at all. It gives me kidney stones quickly. Had to have surgery 2 times before it was figured out that it was the calcium build up in the kidneys because it was not absorbed as it should me. Dealing all these years later is gastric bypass is not easy.

  77. We really are generally spoiled by the weather here. (Although we have some unusually hot days in the forecast for the rest of the week and into the weekend.)

    I grew up in Phoenix and know how to deal with “dry heat,” but humidity–uggh! We were in DC one June and it was miserable. I feel for you.

    My parents were both Kansas kids (way back in the ’30s–no AC then!). Dad on a farm up near Hays; Mom in the little town of Sedan. They both ended up in Arizona, and the rest is history, as they say. 🙂

  78. Momsav, I think they are from down by Holland. They get delivered to a CSA farm over by my sister’s farm. I order through her. They are very good berries. This is the 6th year we have ordered. I don’t know if they come from the same Michigan farm every year or not .

  79. I can’t wait until we get some harvest from our garden!!! We are starting to get some tomatoes and I seem to have some volunteer lettuce (didn’t plant lettuce this year)

    Last week:
    * made 3 pans of lasagne, 2 are residing in the freezer 🙂
    * got a small greenhouse via craigslist. we are struggling a bit to get it put together but I am anxious to start using it
    * sold an item on eBay
    * picked up a couple freebie grocery items (also starting to put freebies away for christmas stockings)
    * scored a free bookcase from our local buy nothing site that was much needed

  80. Quilting is easy and can be self taught. Find a copy of Quilt in a Day Log Cabin. If you can sew a straight line you can make that quilt. I like to make that quilt with my scraps. I make many small quilts 60″X 60″ for kids. With the straight lines it quilts quickly.

  81. The back to school sales have started here. (I am sure they are going on all over the US right now) With coupons I got 6 packs of Bic pens for FREE. Now, these free pens will be turned into a FREE Mexican food dinner from our favorite Mexican food place. It is a joke between the owner and my husband …..but pens disappear from his restaurant and he is always needing them. My husband gave him 300 pens a few years ago he got from an auction when a company went out of business. (we kept the paper and other supplies but had no need for more than 1000 pens) Now when he sees us he always asks for more pens. (he is joking) A couple of times now I have used coupons to get FREE pens and I give them to him…we get FREE dinner.

    Making my doll clothes. Staying inside as much as possible. It is so hot. I am also taking a medication that warns me to stay out of the sun. I am hanging the laundry at 6:30 am. I am getting the boys to take it down for me in the afternoon.

    Made meals at home. Gave away a big box of clothes that no longer fit. Gave away many shoes that were never comfortable to me. I am cleaning my closet and not keeping things that are not “right” for me.

    Bethany, I have done child care for a living since 1989 as a licensed provider. You are right, lots of people need care for children in the ‘odd’ hours like nurses etc. I no longer do that kind of care, but there is a HUGE market for it if she lives near a hospital or even a store like a 24 hour Walmart. People don’t work 8-5 any more.

    Brandy I am so glad you got your furniture. I know you are tickled to get the nice chairs you have wanted and the book cases sound great. As I have been married 45 years I am giving away furniture to my son and his wife. Their son is setting up an apartment near his college…..

  82. Athanasia, Thanks for the quick reply! Holland is too far for me. I work with a man who will drive an hour or more, one way, to see about picking berries. His wife is the same. I guess i’ll have to do that if i want any. (And, i do!:D) Years ago, before we moved here, i saw people stopped on the side of the road coming out of the woods with buckets of berries. I haven’t seen that since we’ve been here; 5+ years.

  83. Castaic! It IS a small world, isn’t it!? Depending on how long you’ve been gone, you might not recognize it. It’s gone from a sleepy lake town to a little suburbia.

  84. We love it here in KS. When the housing market peaked, we sold our SoCal home& moved. DH’s work commute every day was exhausting and we grabbed the opportunity. I love having seasons, but would gladly give up the humidity. July and August are the toughest.

  85. Hi Becky! I’m in central MN and also always wonder where people live to get cheaper prices at farmers markets:)

  86. I forgot we also picked cilantro,beets, and one eggplant and a good number of slicing cucumbers. I ordered pickling cucumbers from lady down the road. I make a lot of the sweet gherkins (need approx 2″ cucumbers for example) and baby dills and it’s easier to order and get big batches all at once of sizes I want.

    Made 4 pints and 3 half pints of raspberry freezer jam so far. Started refrigerator dills in gAllon glass jar with the long seedless cucumbers…cut in half then slice in spears. 8 slices per cuke. They turn out like those refrigerator brand pickles. Canned 7 qts of mixed green and wax beans for making 4 bean salads. My oldest daughter cubed and roasted the beets with olive oil and salt. They caramelized and were delicious sprinkled on lettuce salads.

    Did not shop at all. Only bought gas so bought milk at the kwik store and bananas 35¢/lb.

  87. Tomato sauce leather is something I’ve grown to love! I keep a few jars with torn pieces in the cupboard and throw them in soups, sauces and casseroles to thicken. Works great!

  88. So nice to read about your frugal accomplishments. So glad that some people still living a normal life. I am working full time in an office and seems I don’t have a life. Thinking about a change. This is my goal!

  89. Melissa- that is the oddest thing I’ve ever heard of- you can’t babysit children unless they are related to you? Here, you can have up to 6 children in addition to your own before you have to be a licensed home child care provider.
    The neighbors watching kids/home childcare is a very large “gray” segment of the economy.

  90. Unless they’ve been removed, there was a nice raspberry patch by the bike trails trailhead in Holly Recreation area. Too far for you in the UP, but this might be of some help to people close to Flint. It also had two rare-for-today features: pit toilets and a hand pump. One of my favorite childhood memories as a kid was picking blueberries in the woods close by my great aunt’s cabin on Little Wolf Lake near Lewiston, Michigan. I’m not sure if we wandered and picked berries on their land only or on the adjacent state forest land too. I learned to swim in that sand-bottomed lake at the beach in the state forest campground. Mini-vacation opportunity for you, perhaps. I hope you didn’t experience any problems with the strong storms that moved through the UP yesterday. Thrifty hint for visitors and residents of Michigan: the state park pass only costs $11 per year and provides free admission to scores of parks.

  91. Carol, I appreciate your willingness to raise your grandchildren. Thank you for the love, care, and comfort you have offered to them. May God continually bless your efforts!

  92. Soaking the laundry for 15 minutes….what a great idea! I am always looking for ways to cut the cost and/or the time invested in laundry chores. Thank you for sharing, Debby; I will start soaking my laundry prior to the minimum wash cycle.

  93. I also agree that farmer’s markets often are more expensive than the grocery store. However, because the produce is local, I find it often tastes better. If looking for better deals, sometimes it is better to check out the roadside farm stands. They may have “B” or “C” grades, that are flawed and can’t be sold for top price. Also, since you are coming to them, they didn’t have to pay for the transportation or their time away from the farm. Sometimes, if you frequent enough or buy in bulk, they will give you deals, too.

  94. Nope – You have to be licensed – unless they are related to you. And you DO NOT want DHS involved in your life here in MI

  95. Roxie,

    So sorry for all your troubles. My hematologist said that iron infusions are next if other avenues don’t work. I had four blood transfusions when I was in the hospital and that only brought my count up three points. I have an appointment next week to see if my levels are higher. I think the iron infusions would make me sick. Maybe I won’t have to find out.

  96. Bethany, I am interested in your pepper “steak”. Do you do anything to the eggplant to make it like steak? We grow eggplant but I only really have 3 recipes I use with it and I could use more. (besides baba ganoush, parmagiana and chopped with onions and peppers for spaghetti sauce)

  97. Bridgette, your book SUNDAY DINNER sounds very interesting. I like reading about food and the cultural connections. The website says it comes out in September.

  98. Our farmer’s market here can be cheaper or more expensive, depending on the product. Especially if organic or specialty it will be higher as our grocer is very basic, little organic variety to choose from. I noticed kohlrabi were 2.99 for a bunch of 3 small at the store and a bunch of 6-8 were going for 2.00 at the farmer’s market.

    As for roadside stands, that varies. We can buy potatoes and onions at the stands that are the seconds, but they are advertised that way. These are the ones that didn’t get accepted at the buyer, but certainly nothing wrong with them. At our stand we always put out the best. We will sell bushels of seconds for tomatoes but folks usually ask specifically for those. Rhonda’s advice on frequenting the same place and buying in bulk is excellent…build up a relationship and you will get little extras, that is for sure.

  99. Debby KS I did this last night! I was cooking spaghetti and had just drained it into a pail and said dinners ready but go pour this on the walkway first. They all kind of looked at me…I said now, while it’s still hot! I read it on Brandy! My husband said oh, OK and took it right out.

  100. Melissa V, my oldest daughter in charge of the gardens uses a lot of floating row cover for plants. Some just lay right on the plants, some she has hoops in the ground.

  101. it’s easy if you aren’t OCD about seams and points lining up absolutely perfectly. It makes sewing very stressful for me so I just choose to not even try to get better at it. I have manufactured a complete Boba Fett helmet from cardboard, papermache and sculpting clay, a female Loki costume which was out of vinyl and fit like a glove on the girl, multiple Disney Princess’ (and I didn’t use the patterns put out because they aren’t true to the movies) and many more but quilting?? Sends my blood pressure up sky high and I want to throw my sewing machine thru the window 🙂

  102. Hi Athanasia! Thank you for the kind words! I’m a relatively new blogger but a proud Pennsylvanian so you can expect a PA post every couple of weeks as a regular feature on my blog.

  103. Hi Annabel and thank your for your encouragement and kind words about what I make and do. We try hard to be as self reliant as we can to provide for not only us but others who may be in need around us too. Love Lorna xxx.

  104. Glad someone thought it to be as useful as I did, Miss Paula. Since our clothes aren’t dirty dirty, just body dirty, they don’t need the scrubbing effects of agitation. I figure it saves me about 30 minutes of electricity per week. Every little bit helps. :). Especially since the A/C is working OT in this 100+ weather.

  105. I’d like to compliment those of you who continue to bake in the heat of summer. I just can’t do it. Or kitchen is in the SW corner of the house and you can make beef jerky in there. It’s awful. We use a lot of Sam’s tortillas in summer instead of bread. Wraps, burritos, etc.

  106. Lorna,
    Hi from the Uk
    I love to read your posts on here about your life. You do so much and not just for yourselves either. Please would you put up your Etsy Link so that we can all see your your lovely sewing.


  107. Hello from Birmingham UK.
    This week I am sorting out the old coal shed attached to our house. After sorting out the rubbish and taking what can’t be reused to the dump, I plan on re-pointing the inside brickwork, painting it white inside and adding new shelving.There is plenty of half used tins of paint in there to do the walls. There is no natural light or electricty so the white painted walls and roof will help there. I will also pour a new floor over a damproof membrane.This will become my outside storage for none perishables and tools. It stays fairly cool, is solid and has a good lockable door.It only has a floor area of about 12 sq ft but is 8ft high.
    We have a very small house, badly designed and I am always looking for storage. After that, the next project will be to shop for a new bed. We bought a metal bedstead a few years ago for our spare room, it’s amazing how much stuff can be stored under it! Now I want to replace the our bed with a metal frame to increase storage space.
    This house has no cellar or attic space. It’s a council house, (housing project) but it’s home and I’m doing the best I can with what I have like many of us here. The future is worrying but with God’s help and a bit of planning, we’ll all get through what ever life throws at us!

  108. Hi Kim and that is wonderful you are doing up the old coal shed, it sounds like an interesting project.

    We too have a really small home that we rent while we are saving for our home. It is a really old 100+ year old 3 bedroom workers cottage of total area of 100 square metres. So totally relate to the small storage areas 🙂 .

    It is amazing what you can fit into a small area, look at stacking and buying shelving units to go around the wall spaces for more storage. In our kitchen we have 4 months of flours, sugars, oats and pastas stored in 10lt circular food safe air tight containers stacked beside the fridges and freezers and we have purchased 2 double door pantries we have purchased so we have more storage spaces for food as well. We also use the tops of the fridges and 2 freezers for storing dried fruits, nuts etc as well as stacked containers on top of the 2 double door pantries as well.

    We have a saying in our home which is if you cannot go out go up by stacking.

    You are certainly right that with God’s help, planning and being frugal we will all get through and thrive, not only to help ourselves but to help others too 🙂 .

  109. I adore your table and chairs and the photos of the children. I love ‘real’ furniture as this is a real investment rather than Ikea cheap and cheerful flat pack. We’ll be moving house in the coming weeks and sadly some of our investments are too big to come with us. We’ll be selling them on to raise funds to furnish out new home. A bigger home with more space and storage so I can finally have the panty of my dreams!! xx

  110. Your table and chairs are lovely Brandy. My MIL has a lovely regency style dining table and chairs which I love. It has extra leaves and seats 12. I would love it but it just wouldn’t fit our wee house. She jokes that if we had it out full in our house, we’d have to put the carver chairs, 1 in the front door space and the other in the back door space because its so long. I love “proper” furniture”.

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